Boston is one of the oldest cities in the United States. You can look forward to plenty of things to do as you explore this beautiful city’s rich heritage, especially at night. Besides it’s cultural history, there are also modern landmarks, fine art collections, shopping, and world-class dining. Before you plan your itinerary, we’ll show you where all the fun is. Here are the best things to do in Boston at night.

1. Museum of Fine Arts

Your first visit should be the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. They showcase one of the world’s finest art collections. Marvel at the impressive American collection and one of the most extensive collections of Monets outside Paris. Moreover, get to see one of the world’s most complete Degas collections. Other cultures you’ll see include Old Kingdom Egyptian and Asian collections, Japanese art, as well as Shinto and Buddhist collections. While they normally close at 5pm, they do have special events like MFA Late nights.

  • Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 10am-5pm; MFA Late nights 8pm-2am
  • Duration: 2-4 hours
  • Address: 465 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115, United States

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2. Institute of Contemporary Art

The structure of the Institute of Contemporary Art’s exterior is a visual feast. In particular, it resembles a remarkable folding ribbon reaching to the water’s edge. The spacious museum was designed with the idea of viewing contemporary art from the sky downwards, and from the ground upwards. Located in the South Boston Seaport District, its galleries feature adjustable skylights with movable ceilings and walls. Go on a nighttime contemporary art appreciation, until 9 pm on Thursdays and Fridays.

  • Opening Hours: Thursday & Friday 10am-9pm; Monday, Tuesday & Weekends 10am-5pm
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Address: 25 Harbor Shore Dr, Boston, MA 02210, United States

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3. Faneuil Hall Marketplace

Feel the energy of Boston at the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which has been proclaimed as “The Cradle of Liberty in 1742. Today, it is a thriving complex of shops, food stalls, restaurants, public spaces, and bars just a few steps away from the waterfront. Mingle with both locals and other tourists in the cobblestone plaza to people watch and shop. Otherwise, be entertained by the variety of street performances for your viewing pleasure. With more than 70 retailers and 160,000 square feet of space, you will never run out of things to enjoy. It’s one of the most iconic festival marketplace at night. Experience the bustling energy of the Marketplace nightly, open til 9 pm daily and until 7 pm on Sundays.

  • Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 10am-7pm; Friday & Saturday 10am-8pm; Sunday 11am-6pm
  • Duration: 1-3 hours
  • Address: 4 S Market St, Boston, MA 02109, United States

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4. Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to view one of Boston’s most esteemed collections of fine art. This includes American, Asian, and European pieces featured in all media. Check out the scheduled concerts, on-site lectures, and community events for a more enriching experience. The museum’s history featuring a high-profile art theft will pique your interest as well. To illustrate – it involves more than $500 million stolen including 13 valuable fine art pieces. Indeed, this yet unsolved crime is considered to be the single most extensive private property theft ever.

  • Opening Hours: Thursday 11am-9pm; Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11am-5pm; Weekends 10am-5pm
  • Duration: 1-3 hours
  • Address: 25 Evans Way, Boston, MA 02115, United States

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5. Boston Museum of Science

Explore the wonderful world of science with the entire family at the Boston Museum of Science. Specifically, check out over 600 interactive exhibits on dinosaurs, maps, computers, modern technology, algae, birds, and a whole lot more.  You’ll also see popular exhibits like a world population meter, a full-sized space capsule, a virtual fish tank, and the world’s biggest lightning bolt generator. Don’t forget to visit the Mugar Omni Theater and the Hayden Planetarium as well! On the other hand, you can on a nighttime scientific discovery, especially on Fridays when the museum is open until 9 pm.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 9am-5pm; Friday 9am-9pm
  • Duration: 2-4 hours
  • Address: 1 Museum Of Science Driveway, Boston, MA 02114, United States

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6. Walk the Freedom Trail

One of the best ways to explore Boston at night and see it’s attractions is to follow the Freedom Trail. Spanning four kilometers (2.5 miles), the trail is marked with red paint or red brick on the sidewalk. Interestingly, these markers are used to identify the stops and plaques that lead the way to the next point of interest. Most of the sites are associated with United States colonial history, starting on the Boston Common. As you go along the route, you will have an immersive introduction into the rich history of Boston. You’ll see historical sights including Beacon Hill, the Old City Hall, Quincy Market, King’s Chapel, the Old Corner Bookstore, the USS Constitution Museum, and so much more.

  • Length: 4km
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Address: 139 Tremont St, Boston

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7. Copley Place

Get ready for some serious retail therapy at Copley Place. It’s Boston’s top destination for high-end shopping with 75 shops sprawled on 9.5 acres. Copley Place houses brands such as Christian Dior, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Neiman Marcus, and Barney’s New York. You may even consider staying at either The Westin or Boston Marriott. Both hotels are connected to Copley Place, making the shopping experience even more convenient.

  • Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 11am-7pm; Friday & Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday 12pm-6pm
  • Duration: 1-3 hours
  • Address: 100 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02116, United States

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8. Sightseeing Cruises

See the beauty of Boston from the water when you go on an unforgettable sunset cruise. On most cruises, there’ll be guides who share insights into the city’s rich history and tourist attractions. Have a few drinks while gazing at the impressive city skyline at night. Some harbor cruises have a live jazz band, ideal for romantic dates of fun with friends. Keep an eye out for the cannon fire off the USS Constitution, announcing the setting of the sun. Whether you join a yacht, cruise, or boat tour, a sightseeing cruise is one of the more popular choices for a fun night in Boston.

Duration: 1-3 hours

Sunset Cruises Night Cruises

9. Dinner Cruises

Gaze at the splendid Boston city skyline as you enjoy a sumptuous dinner onboard a luxury ship. Start the night with pre-dinner drinks as you sail away from the harbor. Subsequently, view the imposing USS Constitution, the site of the Boston Tea Party, and the Bunker Hill Monument. Sit down for a lavish buffet dinner at the ship’s elegant dining room, with live music for entertainment. The DJ gives the music a more upbeat theme after dinner, to encourage you to get up and go straight to the dance floor! For a more relaxed experience, you can head on to the open-air deck after dinner to enjoy the gentle breeze coming off the water. Most dinner cruises depart at 7 pm.

  • Duration: 2-3 hours

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10. New England Aquarium

One of the most beloved attractions in Boston is the New England Aquarium. If you have kids or want to plan a quiet date night, this might be the place to go. With over 15,000 underwater creatures to see, you’re bound to be in awe. See cute penguin colonies, Atlantic Harbor seals, and beautiful Pacific coral. The real highlight is the Giant Ocean Tank which contains sting rays, turtles, eels, and more colorful fish. You can even touch the animals at Shark and Ray Touch Tank.

  • Opening Hours: Saturday to Thursday 9am-6pm; Sunday 10am-8pm
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Address: 1 Central Wharf, Boston, MA 02110, United States

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11. Pizza in Little Italy

With hundreds of pizzerias in Boston, you can have your fill of the best pizza in America as you go on a walking night tour of the city. This is especially true in the Little Italy area. There are around 50 pizza places that thrive to offer mouthwatering gooey slices to hungry locals and tourists alike. Jumpstart the tour in the historic North End neighborhood with your pizza expert. You’ll start with slices from three classic pizzerias to fuel around two hours of walking. During your walk, you’ll pass through neighborhoods of Charlestown, North End or Little Italy, Beacon Hill, and the Blackstone Block. See historic landmarks such as the Paul Revere House, Boston’s second-oldest burial grounds, and the city’s oldest standing church. Make sure you come hungry, cause there’ll be plenty of pizza!

  • Departure time: 5pm
  • Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes

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12. Boston Hard Rock Café

If you are looking for a classic all-American dining experience, the Hard Rock Café Boston should not be missed. Located next to Faneuil Hall Marketplace, this Hard Rock Café has 16,000 square feet of space. The restaurant can comfortably seat 514 customers. After dinner, check out the Rock Shop with its collectible items for sale. Or, grab a drink and enjoy the bustling atmosphere with live music.

  • Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday 12pm-8pm; Friday & Saturday 12pm-10pm
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Address: 22-24 Clinton St, Boston, MA 02109, United States

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13. Breweries & Pub Crawls

Boston is home to distilleries, major breweries, and several newer players in the beer brewing business. There are Irish pubs, baseball bars, and even artsy cocktail lounges. The best way to sample all the beers is on a pub crawl. Have a casual chat with your guide or locals to learn more about Boston’s history. There’s no better way to appreciate Boston than over a drink or two. Some popular spots include The Black Rose, The Green Dragon Tavern, and Mr Dooley’s.

Duration: 2-5 hours

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14. Boston Ghosts & Gravestone

The rich, colorful history of Boston makes the city a bustling hotspot for paranormal events. And you can learn all about this on the Ghosts & Gravestones trolley. With a 17th-century gravedigger as your host, you’ll hear about the city’s darker side. Listen to legends and real stories of murder, ghosts, and impossible-to-explain phenomena. Visit the oldest burying grounds in the city and its occupants dating as far back as the 17th century.

  • Departure Time: Daily 6pm-8pm
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure Point: 200 Atlantic Ave, Boston, MA 02110, USA

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15. Explore the Boston Common and Public Gardens

Boston Common is the oldest park in the country, and the starting point of the Freedom Trail. Spread over 50 acres of lush greenery, the Common offers something for everyone at any given time. For example, you can indulge in ice skating in the winter, and outdoor sports (running, tennis, baseball) during the summer. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Common during the latter part of the year to be amazed at the fall foliage. Alternatively, you can gaze at the awe-inspiring Garden of Flags on Memorial Day. If you have kids, there’ll be a variety of activities including a summer splash pool, a seasonal carousel, and a tadpole playground.

  • Opening Hours: Daily 6am-11:30pm
  • Duration: 1-3 hours
  • Address: 139 Tremont St 1B Charles St 38 Beacon St 167 Tremont St, 115 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116, United States

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While Boston is beautiful during the day, you can see there are even more captivating things to do at night. Regardless of the activities, the lively city ensures a fun experience. Also read:

For all new cities, I go overboard on my itinerary, just to see every major attraction. Countries I've visited include New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Cambodia, Japan and Thailand. Mostly Asian countries. Next target - Europe!